Get Involved with SURJ New Haven

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. To get involved, join the SURJ New Haven General Body Google Group. We use this group to let members know about last-minute events and actions as well as to coordinate SURJ’s presence at actions. Go to groups.google.com, search for our google group, and click “join.”

Another way to get more involved is by volunteering with our committees and working groups to organize and facilitate events. These groups often meet outside of general body meetings. If you see a project you might be interested in, email gina.p.roussos@gmail.com to get connected with the co-chairs.
Education Committee. Co-chairs: Amber Kelly, Gina Roussos, and Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, working to educate our community on racial justice issues through film screenings, workshops, and group discussions.

Action Committee. Co-chairs: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, Karen Grossi, and Sarah Lipkin. Get out in the streets! Work directly on campaigns for racial justice! Work in solidarity with local orgs to directly challenge white supremacy!

Canvassing Committee. Co-chairs: Ian Skoggard and Fabian Menges, developing inclusive outreach and base.

Deportation Defense Committee. Co-chairs: Natalie Alexander and Anna Robinson-Sweet collaborating with Unidad Latina en Acción to resist deportations and advocating for policies that protect our immigrant community.

Research Committee. Chair: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, conducting background research to inform and support existing and new campaigns.

Fundraising Committee. Co-chairs: Reed Miller and Chelsea Granger, working to raise funds to support SURJ’s work and the work of local POC-led orgs.

New Haven Public Schools Committee. Chair: Karen Grossi, building a community coalition addressing racial justice in New Haven public schools.

Welcoming Committee. Co-chairs: Karen Grossi and Kacey Perkins, orienting new members to SURJ’s work and helping them find ways to plug in.

Criminal Justice Committee. Chair: Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, designing campaigns to demand police accountability in local cases of police brutality and in pursuance of criminal justice.

Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations

by Lucy Gellman, New Haven Independent, Feb 16, 2017

After a day of false alarms, over 100 people packed a downtown gathering spot to sign up to serve as legal observers, accompany defendants to court, get arrested at protests, and put a rapid-response hotline on speed dial in preparation of anticipated federal raids on undocumented immigrants.

That event took place Wednesday evening at the New Haven Peoples Center on Howe Street.

Starting at 7 p.m., over 100 New Haveners and people from surrounding communities — with dozens left waiting outside — packed the venue’s main room for “Resisting Deportation: A Workshop for Allies.” The two-hour event—part info session, part call-to-arms—was hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) New Haven, with several members from Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) and Junta for Progressive Action.

Read the entire report here: Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations | New Haven Independent

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

Mary Herron Takes Charge

by Brian Slattery, Jan 23, 2017

Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington inspired similar rallies from coast to coast, including a march in Hartford that drew several thousand people to the state capitol. In New Haven at 12:15 p.m., the Green was witness to its own rally. Set up by Yale liaisons to the D.C. march, it had begun at 11 a.m. at Beinecke Plaza on Yale’s campus, with chalk drawings and singing by an a cappella group.

By noon the group had made its way to the Green, where it marched the perimeter of its western half for an hour. Hundreds of people were involved in the protest, which at its largest stretched in a line on Church Street from the corner of Elm to the corner of Chapel.

With chants of “Fired up, ready to go,” “Women’s rights, human rights,” “Keep your hands off my sister,” and “Let’s dump Trump,” the march made a few laps around the Green. Bystanders smiled and waved. A city employee on her way to work yelled, “Thank you! We’re with you!” Cars honked as they passed by.

Source: Mary Herron Takes Charge | New Haven Independent

PROTESTS IN DC

by Joan Cavanagh

I drove down to join the Jan. 21 women’s march with my friend Greg, of my self-adopted Baltimore Neumann family. My home-made sign read: “The swamp is rising. Resist.”

Although some organizations were represented, the march was overwhelmingly one of families and friends joining in sorrow and outrage, with a commitment to protect one another and resist this escalation of the war by the 1% against the rest of us and our planet.

Greg joined the protests on both days. I am submitting with his permission the following email that he sent out on Sunday morning, January 22nd:

“I’m completely overwhelmed by what I saw yesterday and the day before (Jan. 20). Yes, I was there for both days, and frankly inauguration day was even more inspiring than the awesome day that followed, in that there was a brave outpouring from young and old, people who recalled the days of anti-Vietnam War marches, civil rights marches, the Dream speech, and many young people drawn into the political arena of the streets for the first time. Apart from a few anarchists who couldn’t wait in line for their Starbucks fix, so widely reported by the media, there were only brave angry peaceful hearts out there on the street, more numerous it seemed to me than the largely misguided citizens from the Republican camp who rode the train into DC (yes, I talked to quite a few on the train and elsewhere). The bulk of the ‘deplorable’ camp did not seem to be arriving by train, but were chauffeured into the Capitol in black limos and SUVs and talked to no one, but we need to talk to those whose frustration drove them into the hands of the sociopathic leader and his oligarchic government-for-the-rich-and-entitled, who are steadfastly refusing to see the disaster that is looming in front of them. My hat is off to the Black Lives Matter women who peacefully blocked an entrance to the inauguration and were arrested, as well as the group who were arrested, jailed and tortured several days earlier on the steps of the Supreme Court for ‘trespass’ and ‘failure to disperse’. So we have our work cut out for us while we are still free to show what democracy looks like. And my hat is off to all the people who gave up sleep and comfort to travel from the middle of the country and New England and everywhere, as well as those who organized in their home towns for events like Newark, Delaware and sleepy Hilo, Hawaii!”

Gregory Neumann, Baltimore, MD

Report Back from the Inauguration Protest

by Chris Garaffa, ANSWER Coalition

The enormous outpouring of anti-Trump protesters in Washington DC, and indeed the country and the world, on January 20 was a sight to behold. Tens of thousands came to Washington DC to inaugurate the resistance to Trump’s ultra-right wing, pro-Wall Street agenda. From Connecticut, a busload of 55 people, many new to the movement, headed down to DC to join others to protest Trump’s Inauguration. Many others traveled from Connecticut by car or by train.

Thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators filled Navy Memorial Plaza sidewalks and plaza right on the parade route. The Guardian newspaper reporter covering the route tweeted that demonstrators far outnumbered Trump supporters. The rally at the Navy Memorial was broadcast live on Pacifica Radio Network and by C-SPAN. It was an amazing day!

People came from everywhere. Tens of thousands were literally blocked from Navy Memorial for as long as five hours by Secret Service at the main checkpoint on 7th St. through which demonstrators had to funnel. By the time Trump passed the Navy Memorial at 4 p.m. the crowd had swelled and filled the entire area from 7th to 9th St. on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Secret Service and the government used the checkpoints to block anti-Trump demonstrators from entering the Navy Memorial site. Many waited for up to five hours before entering the site. Thousands of others never made it in. The Secret Service in several places also set up an express lane so that Trump supporters could go straight through the checkpoints quickly. As Trump’s motorcade drove by, thousands chanted in protest. The message was loud and clear: Trump and his government of oligarchs will face resistance from the people!

Then, on January 21st, over 2.9 million people joined the women’s march across the country and around the world to say No to Racism, No to misogyny and bigotry. No to the Trump Agenda!

This massive grassroots movement of resistance will continue to grow. The people have spoken. No to Racism! No to bigotry! NO to the Trump agenda!

Jews, Muslims Gather on New Haven Green to Protest Islamophobia, Hate Crimes

by Kate Ramunni, New Haven Register, Dec. 22, 2016

Two groups that have been the target of hate crimes joined together Wednesday [Dec. 21} night to jointly recommit to justice for both and urge others to do the same. Members of Jewish Voices for Peace and the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut gathered on the New Haven Green, where they sang songs, held signs and advocated for tolerance. More than 30 people huddled together and traveled from corner to corner around the Green as evening traffic rushed by. [….]

“It’s gotten difficult to be a Jew or a Muslim in American society,” said Patrick Korth. “They are irrationally targeting the wrong people,” he said as he stood with the others at the corner of Chapel and College streets.

Wednesday’s demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace’s Network Against Islamophobia and set on the backdrop of Hanukkah, which starts Saturday night and runs through Jan. 1. The eight-day “festival of lights” celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. Signs the demonstrators held laid out their beliefs: “We will not be silent when encountering Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes. We challenge through our words and actions institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-black violence. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong with immigrants and refugees. We stand with Jews against Islamophobia and racism, rekindling our commitment to justice. We stand against U.S. policies on the ‘war on terror’ that demonize Islam and devalue, target and kill Muslims.”

“We need to change the direction of this country to address the problems of the world,” Korth said, “and we are not getting there with our politics.”

Read the whole story here at the New Haven Register’s website: Jews, Muslims gather on New Haven Green to protest Islamophobia, hate crimes

Revive the Peace Movement

Stan Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Several Connecticut groups are in the forefront of a new network, RPM, Revive the Peace Movement Network. Promoting Enduring Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee joined with CODEPINK and a number of other groups and individuals to form the group to serve as a pole of opinion and a network for discussion and suggestions. Its website is http://www.RPM.world and it is eager for groups to join it and for individuals to get on its mailing list. Its common “Statement” is as follows:

For a Renewed Anti-War Movement

At a time when wars engulf whole regions of the world we must revive the anti-war movement. The peace movement must put greater pressure on politicians and parties to end U.S. wars and to redirect military spending to meeting social needs at home and abroad.

Our primary tools are education and non-violent direct action, such as mass demonstrations, protest, civil disobedience, boycotts and divestment.

We resolutely oppose the wars of the U.S., its allies and clients, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and U.S. support for repressive regimes such as Honduras and Bahrain.

We call for an end to U.S. support for Israel and for justice for Palestinians, in all of historic Palestine and in their places of refuge.

We also recognize that there are other oppressors in the world, from ISIS to Russia, from Iran to China, from North Korea to the Assad regime. We won’t hesitate to oppose their wars, interventions and cruelties.

War and preparation for war are major contributors to catastrophic climate change. Climate change causes declining living conditions that also significantly contribute to war. We need to break this vicious cycle and work for a sustain-able economy based on social and environmental justice, full employment and one hundred percent non-nuclear renewable energy.

War and climate disruption tragically uproot millions from their home countries. We need to open the borders to refugees and meet their needs for health, safety and human dignity.

We challenge the racism and Islamophobia used to justify wars and occupations and the denial of human rights to refugees.

Seven decades after Hiroshima, the human race is still at risk of nuclear annihilation. Nuclear war is an ever present danger. We demand the abolition of all nuclear weaponry.

The militarism and authoritarianism that the U.S. promotes abroad is reflected in the militarism and attacks on civil liberties in our communities at home.

We stand in solidarity with those such as Black Lives Matter who are advocating the demilitarization of police forces.

We stand in solidarity with those who seek liberation, social and economic justice, and democracy in all countries, including the United States.

Another world is possible, free of militarism and war.

PAI investigates CT Racial Profiling Project

by Elizabeth Neuse, PAI

People Against Injustice (PAI) has obtained the raw data file and the preliminary results of traffic stops in Connecticut, compiled by the CT Racial Profiling Prohibition Project. The site http://ctrp3.ctdata.org provides access to raw traffic stop data and tables for each police district in the state for stops conducted between Oct. 1, 2013 and March 31, 2015. New data will be posted as it is released.

According to the site, here’s what you will find in Phase I on your computer:
Using the filters on the left of the screen, you can create views of descriptive statistics on traffic stop data collected by each department [e.g., New Haven] and statewide totals.

Here’s what you will NOT find:
The ability to make comparisons for multiple departments simultaneously or alongside the statewide totals.
The ability to determine in the pre-stop descriptive statistics which departments were identified as exhibiting racial disparities in traffic stop practices.
To determine whether there are racial disparities by department, read the April 2015 report issued by the IMRP [Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain] which utilized a rigorous statistical analysis. You can also read our data story which explains the methodology applied and the departments that were identified.
Here’s what is coming in Phase II:
Visualizations [e.g., charts] of the econometric analysis that identifies which departments show statistically significant racial disparities in treatment of minority drivers versus non-minority drivers.

Visualizations enabling the comparison of post-stop data

In 2016, IMRP will complete an analysis of pre-stop data at the officer level and the results will be posted at its website.

PAI is planning to investigate further the results of the study.

Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege

Please join us for our “Chicago Dinners”: Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege on Thursday, April 28, 12-2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue. This will be a bilingual conversation with translation. A light meal will be provided. This event is sponsored by the Multicultural Advisory Council of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the New Haven Free Public Library, the Connecticut Mental Health Center Committee on Diversity and Health Equity, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center Citizens Collaborative. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Elizabeth Flanagan, (203) 764-7592 or elizabeth.flanagan@yale.edu. Please indicate if you will need a sign language interpreter.